Labour and skill concerns around Brexit from Knight Frank

Friday 17 June 2016

An increasing number of positive and negative aspects are becoming apparent around the UK’s possible exit from the EU. Some are quite obtuse but one that is a concern to the housing sector and house building targets is the threat to the supply of foreign labour.

A key finding of recent research carried out by CEBR on behalf of NAEA and ARLA is that one in 20 construction workers were born in a non-UK EU country. This statistic becomes more worrying in light of concern recently expressed by numerous construction firms and industry bodies about skill shortages.

Knight Frank have recently issued their Housebuilding Report 2016 with a warning that access to labour is a continuing problem for the construction industry and may worsen if Britain leaves the European Union. 

Some 56 per cent of construction firms say they are planning to recruit additional labour, according to the survey.

“Skilled workers from overseas have always made up a significant part of the construction sector, and this remains the case. There are concerns that a vote to leave the EU in June could ratchet up the pressure on skilled workers if the free movement of workforces between the UK to the EU is impaired. Luring former construction workers back to the sector and training younger entrants to the market is a key challenge, especially as the average age of workers in the sector is relatively high, exacerbating labour shortages as older workers start to retire.”

See NAEA ARLA CEBR report Brexit and the property market

Read the Knight Frank Housebuilding Report 2016